BOSTON -- Just hours after the Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment on Friday, the club promoted Rafael Devers and his big bat from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Devers is Boston's No. 1 prospect -- and No. 12 in all of baseball -- according to MLBPipeline.com. He is already creating a buzz among Red Sox fans, but when his chance to perform at Fenway Park will come is being kept open-ended.
"We again think Rafael Devers is going to be a very, very good player. But I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "He should go to Triple-A and play like he's capable of playing, and we'll see what takes place at that time."
The 20-year-old Devers had a breakout first half for Portland, producing a slash line of .300/.369/.575 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs to earn a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero are currently sharing time at third base for the Red Sox, and Brock Holt is expected to be activated in the coming days. However, none of the players from that trio are known for their power.
If Dombrowski doesn't get another power bat by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, perhaps the Red Sox will call on Devers at some point during August. After not being able to get Carlos Beltran prior to the Deadline last year, Andrew Benintendi was promoted from Double-A to the Red Sox the next day.
"Our guys just feel with his age, where he is and what he's come through, that it would be beneficial for him to go to Triple-A from a maturity perspective," Dombrowski said. "Really, this year he's been tremendous. But we thought it could be beneficial for him to see Triple-A and see how he adjusts to that."
What will the Red Sox be looking for from Devers at Pawtucket?
"It's really just development time, to see how he handles the next step," Dombrowski said. "The one thing you know, the further you go up the ladder, the more they try to expose your weakness -- chasing pitches out of the strike zone. He's actually improved on a lot of that in Double-A over the last time period.
"[Portland manager] Carlos Febles continues to tell us how much better he's gotten. I think that's important for him. Because when he makes contact, the ball jumps off his bat, and he's used the whole field, which is very good. And I think he'll continue to do that. Just kind of the comfort zone of going up to that next step and see how he handles that and how he feels. Does he continue to perform the same way, or does he let that get to him a little bit more, which can happen in a development stage."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.